Horse and Bird
Miriam- A confused 16-year-old girl who has convinced herself that she is in love with Jesper, who has recently moved back to his home country, Norway, to live with his mother. In reality, their relationship can best be summed up as an acquaintance- she mostly admired him from afar.
Miriam (who goes by "Mirrie"), is very open among her small circle of friends, but her near-obsession for Jesper is one of the only things she keeps between herself and her best friend, Ellie. She is excessively casual, both in her dress and mannerisms. She gets stereotyped as being someone "from the wrong side of the tracks", when in actuality, she comes from a wealthy family. Her casualness can best be attributed to her laziness and reluctance to conform to her society's standards. However, this is something that she dislikes about herself, because she believes that Jesper (or any other boy) wants a girl who is pretty and poised, and she drags herself down by dwelling on this while still being too lazy to put effort into her appearance. Her general confusion and low self-esteem leads to anger, which is usually expressed in the form of sarcasm.
Electra- Miriam's best friend. Usually goes by Carmen, but she is Ellie to Miriam (because Miriam has called her that since they were friends in preschool). She has been raised to be proper, and while she has retained her poise and good work ethic, her morals have gone more to the wayside as a teenager.
She used to attend a private Christian school during late elementary and early middle school. Upon coming back to public school, she didn't quite fit in. She and Miriam were still good friends outside of school, and Electra wound up tagging along with her small, misfit group. Since then, she has found it difficult to break away from that group, and while she says she is happy with them, she secretly wishes for a slightly higher social status. While she has confidence in her appearance (and puts a great deal of effort into her style), she lacks the confidence to actually break out of her mold into which she has fit herself.
Setting- A town about 50 miles north of Indianapolis, Indiana.
At Rise: Miriam and Electra are sitting across from each other in a Dairy Queen. Miriam is sitting very, very casually on a booth, while Electra is very poised, save her turning from side to side in her swivel chair. It is after the lunch rush, so it is completely empty except for them. Outside, it is snowing, and a few inches of snow have already collected on the sidewalks. In the distance is a busy road, beyond which is a large, outdated factory outlet complex.
Miriam: (guiltily eating a cookie dough Blizzard with one hand pressed against her cheek) God, I'm gonna kill myself.
Electra: Oh, don't say that. You don't mean it, and we'd all miss you, you know.
Miriam: I know, I know, it's just that this Blizzard is pissing me off, because it's freaking snowing outside, but I still can't resist it, and it's all going to go to my thighs, and
I'm a horse.
Electra: (snorts) Pérdon?
(Miriam slides out of booth rather ungracefully, and stands, hands on hips, staring at Electra angrily.)
Electra: (raises eyebrow) I still don't-
Miriam: HORSE HIPS, ELLIE! I have goddamn horse hips. (pouts and throws herself back into the booth) And this stupid Blizzard is going to make them freaking explode. (rests chin on table and scoots Blizzard toward Electra) Yeah, please don't let me eat that. It's just doing suicide to my lower half. I'm on a diet now.
Electra: That's like, your fifth one this month.
Miriam: I know, but I'm really gonna try this time.
Electra: I'll believe it when I see it. (scoots Blizzard back to Miriam)
Miriam: (glares, then picks up Blizzard and begins eating again) I guess I can always get lipo, you know, once I'm old enough, because it's not like my parents would let me. So how old do I have to be for that?
Electra: I don't-
Miriam: Oh, yeah, I have to get money for that, too. Hopefully I'll be a rock star or something by then so I'll have like a billion dollars or something crazy like that.
Electra: Oh, come o-
Miriam: But I guess you can't be a famous rock star or a famous anything in the first place if you're a goddamn fatty.
Electra: For the last time, you're not fat. You just have a little pear shape, which a lot of people do. And lipo is stupid. If you really want to lose weight, do it the hard way- the right way.
Miriam: Yeah, but it's hard… but yeah, lipo is selfish. I mean, there are starving kids in Ethiopia and stuff and we're shelling out kazillions of monies for shit like that.
Electra: Yeah, I guess you could look at it that way.
Miriam: So what if I could like, get two slabs cut off my butt, one for each cheek, and then like donate it or something? They could like, slice it into cold cuts and send it to Africa or something, I don't know. I mean, it's not like they'd know where it came from, and they probably wouldn't care anyway!
Electra: (looks at her in a way that is skeptical, disgusted, and a little afraid)
Miriam: (excitedly) Or-or-or they could take all the fat out of it and use it for oil lamps like in poor countries where they don't have any electricity, and trust me, there's enough fat here (puts hands on bottom) to keep a menorah or lamp or whatever goin' for a long time.
Electra: Yeah, uhm…
Miriam: Yeah, that was all uncalled for, wasn't it?
Electra: Si, a poco.
Miriam: So you speak Spanish now? Did they make you take that at that prissy little Christian concentration camp?
Electra: Yeah, but really wasn't that bad. It was just small, so if we're talking per capita, we have this really, really large percentage of snobs. Oh, and there were a lot of lesbos, too. It's not like I'm a homophobe or anything, but I'm very straight and all, and I need some men around me to be happy.
Miriam: (snorts) You call the guys at our school men?
Electra: Oh, come on, you know I was being all technical. They're not boys either, so I guess there's not a good… anything to call them.
Miriam: Pigs. Asshats.
Electra: (smiles coyly) Well… what would you call Jesper, then?
Miriam: (as if the answer is obvious) Uhm, the most wonderful human being in existence.
Electra: A modern Messiah?
Miriam: Yeah, except minus the whole religious thinger.
Electra: (shrugs) Yeah, I guess he's pretty cute if you're into that sort of thing.
Miriam: Well, I don't know what "that thing" is referring to exactly, but yeah, I'm into it.
Electra: So your type is… Danish geeky big-nosed oboists.
Miriam: He's Norwegian.
Electra: It's all the same.
Miriam: (defensively) Nuh uh! Norway is all about having top-notch metal and saving the polar bears and skiing and… and… being one of the healthiest places to live according to this one graph thing.
Electra: (holds back laughter)
Miriam: No! It's true! It's totally true, don't deny it; Norway is awesome, and oh, I just remembered about their old awesome religion thing with the Ragnarok and all.
Electra: And sadly I was once geeky enough to actually know all about that.
Miriam: Nah, you weren't a geek. Geeks can't be all pretty and stuff.
Electra: (jokingly and questioningly) I thought I left Saint Constantine to get away from the lesbians…?
Miriam: Psh, it's a compliment. You should, you know, be flattered.
Electra: I know, I know.
Miriam: Psh. Uhm, anyway, Denmark. Denmark, on the other hand, is all about being xenophobic, making bad comics, going to nudist beaches, watching porn, uhm… and, uhh…
Electra: (holds back laughter)
Miriam: And Legos! They have those… and Hanses and Christians and Andersons. See, I mean, they're really nothing alike when you really get down to it.
Electra: I guess all of those Viking countries sort of got lumped together when I learned my geography.
Miriam: It doesn't help that people don't care about those, uhm, (using finger quotes) "Viking countries". I mean, for most people, Europe is like England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and that's it.
Electra: It's more like London on top of Paris on top of angry German people on top of Rome on top of hot Italian and Spanish guys.
Miriam: You know, I think you summed that up nicely.
(long awkward pause)
Miriam: So anyway, earlier you said that Jesper had a big nose, and I have to disagree. I mean, it's bigger than most peoples', but it's, you know, dignified.
Electra: Uh, puh-lease. He's practically Cyrano.
Electra: That guy from that one French play… he had a really big nose.
Miriam: Oh, so do you par-lez voos fran-kase now?
Electra: Oh, no. It's just a classic. Can't believe you haven't heard of it.
Miriam: Nope. I lack culture.
Electra: Unless you count your undying passion for all things Norwegian.
Miriam: No, you know, I lied before. The only Norwegian thing that I have any passion for is Jesper
Electra: I thought a month ago you said the language was one of the most beautiful in the world.
Miriam: I don't remember saying that, but it's not beautiful. But I do remember… trying to learn it…
Electra: And you gave up after… three days?
Miriam: It's not my fault that there aren't many resources for learning it! Anyway, I'm over that phase now.
Electra: Except for your dream boy.
Miriam: Yeah. You know, I was thinking of writing him a letter when I get home.
Electra: You have his address? Oh, and isn't that kind of… creepy? I mean, you've hardly spoken more than two words to him.
Miriam: (defensively) We sat next to each other in Biology last year, and we talked a little.
Electra: How little?
Miriam: (mumbling) Oh, I don't know…
Electra: I still think it's a bit weird to send him something. And why send him a letter? Wouldn't email be a little more… efficient? Oh, and less creepy, too? It wouldn't look like you were hunting down his address that way.
Miriam: God, you make me sound like a freaking stalker.
Electra: Well, you are a bit… obsessive-ish.
Miriam: Am not. I just like him a lot, and every time I sit next to him or he talks to me or something, I can just feel it, you know. It's like we're supposed to be together.
Electra: Dude, the same thing happens to everyone when they have a crush. I feel like I'm sitting next to a fifth grader.
Miriam: No, no, this is different. It's like you're floating, and you get all dizzy in the head and stuff, and your heart stops beating and falls down to your knees, and you feel like, "God, if I'm not with this guy I'm going to kill myself."
Electra: Yeah. That's how most people feel. It's not like magic or anything, and it's not like you have any great destiny together or anything since you hardly talked to him while he was here. And now he's gone, so I guess you're out of luck.
Miriam: Maybe we'll start writing back and forth, and he'll fall in love with me over the internet. People do it all the time. It's easier than talking to him in person.
Electra: But there's something personal… a personal relation isn't the same as just typing. And half of the people people meet online are like, rapists and wife beaters and stuff.
Miriam: But it's worked for some people! I mean, just because we can't kiss or… anything else doesn't mean that he can't fall in love with me that way. And maybe if he does he'll decide to come back.
Electra: I doubt it.
Miriam: Excuse me, but I'm trying to stay positive here.
Electra: Sorry, I'm just too realistic. I'm no fun, am I?
Miriam: Well, I can't say I love your stance on everything, but aside from this you're alright. It'd be nice for some, you know, support.
Electra: (shrugs) Well, sorry, but I really don't know what I can do. I'm not too good with relationship crap either.
So how are you going to start talking to him in the first place?
Miriam: Oh, well, I was going to ask for some oboe-playing tips, and…
Electra: You got an oboe?
Miriam: Yeah, last week. I got it with my Christmas money. So I was thinking about dropping that semester of Debate I had and take band instead.
Electra: (stares) Are you serious?
Miriam: Yeah. Yeah, I am.
Electra: (sigh) You can't just start band halfway through high school, Mirrie! That's stupid. You're just doing it because Jesper was in there, and you think he'll like you if you play the same instrument or something.
Miriam: Nuh uh! I've wanted to be in band for a long time. I just hadn't gotten a chance to yet.
Electra: Oh, and you've aspired to play the oboe for all that time?
Miriam: No, but-
Electra: Seriously, don't take band. They're all really good in there, and they don't want you just learning while they're playing Mozart and whatnot.
Miriam: I'll learn fast.
Electra: No, you won't. You give up on just about everything after a week.
Miriam: True… but I'll prove you wrong. And I'll prove myself wrong.
Electra: It's really not that easy. I was in band for all of middle school, and it's a really long learning process. Some people like me just aren't hardcore enough for it.
Miriam: (sigh) So what am I gonna do with that oboe?
Electra: You mean I actually managed to convince you that quickly?
Miriam: Yeah, high five.
Electra: Ten points for me!
(they high five)
I guess there's always EBay.
Miriam: Sure. I'm not sure how many people really buy instruments off the internet, but if they can sell Cheetos that look like Morgan Freeman, I think I can get away with this.
Electra: (giggles, then looks out windows) We'd better get outta here before the roads get all icy and stuff.
Miriam: I think it's too late for that, but I'm done. Shit, I can't believe I ate that whole thing.
Electra: Just work out later.
Miriam: If writing counts as working out, then I'm in good shape.
Electra: You're still going to write the letter without the oboe thing?
Miriam: I'll think of something.
(they stand and throw their cups away)
I dunno, I can't think of anything now, but I might when I can sit down and focus and all. And even if I say something totally weird or creepy-stalker-ish, he's in Norway. It's not like it can damage my fragile little reputation.
Electra: You know, honestly, your love life is like that of a fifth grader.
Miriam: Fifth graders don't have love lives. Love to them is like, playing in the sandbox and holding hands if you're lucky.